STOMPIN 76 Bumper Stickers Released, Commemorating The Bluegrass Festival That Doesn't Stop Giving
40 Years Ago over 100,000 gathered in SW Virginia for the biggest party in the bicentennial year.
Held that warm weekend Friday - Sunday, August 6, 7, 8 1976, 8 miles N of Galax, Virginia at the 400 acre Lawson Farm, then known as the New River Jam Site, the event's size and scope gathered speed through the spring and early '76 summer with Davidson's non-stop promotion on radio, in newspapers and with those red, white and blue 11" wide bumper stickers. "It had to be 4 mil vinyl and not paper so they would last!" Davidson said in his Rockville, Maryland office this Sunday. "They lasted alright."
Back in February, 1976, Davidson knew a young active audience wanted a big event to celebrate the bicentennial year of our nation's independence. Extremely driven at age 20, after promoting 8 concerts in the Baltimore area, he remembers coming up with the concept and name in his apartment while talking to friends about the need and his burning desire to switch from concerts to festivals. He found the location, booked the bands through Keith Case in Nashville and started promoting with his local friends helping on the sojourn.
Appearing on one stage: Bonnie Raitt, Earl Scruggs, Lester Flatt, Vassar Clements, Ry Cooder, John Hartford, Osborne Brothers, The Rowans, John Prine, Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Doc & Merle Watson, The Dillards, Hickory Wind, New Grass Revival, David Bromberg, Red White and Bluegrass, Nashville Bluegrass Band, Papa John Creach, Eric Weisberg and Deliverance, Star Spangled Washboard Band, Grass On The Rocks, Good Ol' Boys, Joe and Bing. 3 Days of Fun and Music for only $12.00
This one-time event ended up becoming the biggest bluegrass party on record. The star-studded bluegrass/ blues lineup, combined with the lure of southern Virginia's love of the genre, a low ticket price and rampaging marketing campaign, made Stompin 76 the place to be that August. Many attendees and their decedents still talk about wild experiences in detail forging close relationships lasting a lifetime. Bluegrass did it! Davidson sells hundreds of Stompin 76 tee shirts every year, now the sticker is here.
This year, while putting in her order for tee shirts, Sue said, "I told my husband about your bumper stickers and he started reminiscing. He's not one to do FB but I told him he should share some of his stories! He had an old VW van that had your Stompin76 bumper sticker on it for years. I don't know what made him sadder…to see his old VW get hauled off to the junk yard or that he couldn't take the bumper sticker off. LOL! You gave our generation great memories that will last a lifetime (even if a bit foggy from the booze and drugs). =)
The pounding promotion brought festival goers together from all over the eastern U.S.. The people, the bands and that natural place, made this bluegrass festival not like any other bluegrass music festival before or after. It was a huge rock festival atmosphere without the edge. People took care of each other and still talk about hop they did. The Pagans motorcycle club played their role too as the security company largely disappeared.
Luann said, "Stompin '76 was my first bluegrass festival and I loved it! I convinced a co-worker and friend to attend it with me. Two young 20 something's women, we drove to the site and found that the bottom of the mountain was as far as we could get! We pitched our tent in an elementary school playground and headed up the mountain! The walk up was an experience in and of itself! We saw people renting out their yards to festival goers...people were in the middle of the road, camping, cooking, and sharing all of their wares!!! It was one of the most exciting times of my life! But once you start talking about Stompin everyone gets a great big smile on their faces!"
Hal Davidson is still promoting, just completing ROCK FIESTA in the Arizona desert, the greatest campout Latino rock festival in American history. "It was like producing a festival on the moon." Davidson said. Just google it. He consults on concerts and festivals worldwide. In August he's about to present his first 'How to promote concert and music festivals' webinar and is working with Las Vegas Illusionist on a new rock - magic stage production.
Find the Stompin 76 memories, the stickers and the tee shirts at stompin76.com. Y'ALL KEEP STOMPIN!
Hal Davidson is also the author of books on promoting concerts and music festivals at www.concert-
Hal Davidson, Promoter of Stompin 76
Page Updated Last on: Jul 11, 2016